L O I T E R E R.
"Speak of us as we are."
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
And sold by C. S. RANN, OXFORD;
Mess. EGERTONS, Whitehall, LONDON; Mess. PEARSON
And ROLLASON, BIRMINGHAM; Mr. W. MEYLER, Grove,
BATH; AND Mess. COWSLADE and SMART, READING.
L O I T E R E R.
SATURDAY, November 14, 1789.
Sunt quos curriculo pulverem ——
Collegisse juvat —— —— Hor.
FROM a variety of circumstances which have lately occurred, I find I have, indeed, much more narrowly, than I was aware, escaped making a public Entry into Oxford on my Return from the Metropolis; and of course, have at the same time escaped the necessity of putting an immediate stop to these my weekly labours; my Readers being already informed, that “whenever the Loiterer is known, from that moment he ceases to exist. — Although my apprehensions respecting the Vice-Chancellor and the Mayor were entirely groundless, yet in another quarter I find that a plan was actually laid for intercepting me on the road, and which must have infallibly succeeded, had it not been for the very fortunate rencontre with my friend Mr. Sensitive. I have already informed my Readers of the various efforts which I had in vain made to get out of Town, Every one knows it is the true characteristic mark of the Family of the Loiterers, of which I have the honour at present to be the great Representative, to deliberate long; but it is chiefly known to themselves that the genuine Loiterer, let him deliberate as long as he pleases, always determines in a hurry. Thus it has been with myself upon the present occasion; my departure indeed was so very sudden, that I neglected to bring with me the various Hints which I had collected for many of succeeding Papers, and which I now fear are irretrievably lost, particularly a second and more agreeable visit which I had meditated to my friend Mr. Distich, which it will now require the utmost stretch of my invention to accomplish.
From this unfortunate disposition, added to an inherent forgetfulness, I have often found my affairs in great want of arrangement; and to this it was owing in an early part of my life, that my Grandfather, by the Mother’s Side, the late Sir Mathew Methodical, Knt. a rich and respectable merchant, was often heard to despair of my ever becoming what the mercantile World calls a good Man. I was seldom indeed in his presence an hour without hearing some sage remark on the necessity of having a Method in every thing. It was my Grandfather’s custom to keep a neat piece of polished Ivory hanging upon a brass nail at his chimney corner, both in his Town and his Country house: On one was generally inscribed Mems for the Country, on the other the same for London. By these means he kept everything on his premises in the most exact order. In short my Grandfather had a place for every thing, and every thing was kept in its place. Anxious to communicate some portion of this regularity to his descendants, I remember his making me a present of a very handsome pocketbook, with a leaf of ass’s skin for Memorandums. There, said he, let every thing You have to do in London be regularly set down, that I may hear no more of your forgets. In short, even now I blush to relate, that the very next day, secure in the impossibility of forgetting, I made a trip to Town, and returned without once recollecting to look in my pocket-book. Well, Sir, said my grandfather, you flow I hope find the benefit of being a little methodical, to which, however, I could only reply by a rueful shake of the head; but being interrogated again, I was under the necessity of observing, that we had forgot to set down the most material article. “We, Sir,” said my grandfather, pray, Sir, what have we forgotten; when was I ever known to forget any thing? Ah, Sir, said I, endeavouring to force a smile into my countenance, in future I am always determined to write at the bottom of my ass’s skin “Memorandum, to remember the Mems.” Z —— ds, said my grandfather, and you have really forgot to look in your pocket-book; This is too much! and immediately taking three strides across the room, he flung himself into his elbow chair. I am particular in my account of this important moment, for on this very moment, my Biographers will find the destination of the remainder of my life to depend. — After a silence of nearly an hour, my grandfather taking the polished ivory from the mantle piece, hastily wrote a few lines, and calling for his chamber candlestick, quitted the room without speaking a word. I was too much interested not to examine the lines he had written, and which my Readers will easily believe were as follow:
Mem. Never to suffer my grandson to shew his face in the comptinghouse. — But, as the Boy is not an absolute fool, to send him to Oxford and bring him up to the Church.
To return, however, more immediately to the subject of my present Paper, it is necessary to inform my Readers, that Mr. Sensitive’s man arrived at Oxford in due time with my portmanteau, and the SAC DE NUIT, which he delivered to me with much concern upon his countenance, and a very serious intimation that he was afraid some mischievous plot was hatching against my person. But first, said he, permit me, Sir, to give you a regular detail of my proceedings. As to the poor Sailor, and please your Worship, I found him at the door of an alehouse adjoining to the place where we had passed him; he was completely drunk, and had just been kicking up a riot in the street, so I thought it right to withhold my master’s bounty. — Your landlady, Sir, said he, received me with a very bad grace indeed, even dropping hints that she suspected the portmanteau of being filled with nothing but brickbats, till I had silenced her by the offer of payment to the utmost of her demands. I was happy, Sir, at the same time, to rescue a slip of paper from lighting the fire, which your Worship had left behind. It was written upon in your own hand, Hints for the Loiterer, No. 45. — Air Machine by the king’s patent — capable of great improvements — words are air — the Church — the Methodist-meeting, the Old Bailey, House of Commons — Augean stable — Westminster-hall — foul air — pure and inflammable air — constitutional ditto — chemical analogy — the whole world in an error — an appeal to the test — farthing candle extinguished — London enlightened — the whole hemisphere in a blaze — Ultima Thule, &c. &c. — Your Worship is the best judge, whether I did right in preserving it. Very right, said I, John; it is a valuable Scrap, indeed. But let me hear how you got down in the coach. Extraordinary well, Sir, till we came to Nettlebed Woods, when we were suddenly stopped by three dashing young men, two of them well mounted, and a third driving a chair with two horses, one before the other. We were all pulling out our purses, when one of them desired to know if there was any letter or parcel for Mr. Whirligig, at the same time almost throwing half of his body into the window of the coach. The ladies screamed, and honest Steers the coachman made answer, that he very often had both letters and parcels for Robert Whirligig, Esq; but at present he believed there was nothing either in the boot or the basket but a large portmanteau and a bundle of Mr. Loiterer’s, and the other things belonging to the passengers. Immediately the gentlemen all at once burst forth into the loudest Tallio I ever remember to have heard.
Mr. Whirligig immediately descended from his chair, and begging to be admitted was in a moment seated in the inside of the coach; but he soon appeared to be very much dissatisfied, upon finding only a fat old lady, three very queer looking young women, and myself. At first he directed his discourse entirely to me, and I verily believe, Sir, if he had not observed the corner of my livery peeping out from under my great coat, he would have actually taken me for Your Worship’s self. Well, John, and suppose he had, said I, interrupting him, I hope I shall never be ashamed to be taken for an honest man, whether his Coat is turned up with Orange or Buff. — The compliment which fell unpremeditatedly from my lips was a receipt in full for the trouble of his journey; and honest John proceeded to inform me, that Mr. Whirligig soon stopped the coach, and getting out, made a number of enquiries of the coachman, which could not be distinctly heard, respecting the owner of the portmanteau. Indeed, Sir, said he, I am sure that they have all three some very bad design against you. —— Although it did not raise any very dreadful apprehension in my mind, yet the serious manner in which this last part of the honest man’s detail was delivered, I must confess excited my curiosity; and it was not till this morning, when the following Letter was delivered to me, that I could thoroughly comprehend the whole state of the case.
To the LOITERER.“My old Boy, you have fairly given us the slip — I had a wager of one hundred guineas depending on your return from London. — We were informed that you were expected down every day. Some, indeed, were of opinion, because Sagely, forsooth, had been heard to say as much, that the whole Scheme to Town was a mere Hum, and that you had never travelled an inch from your own fireside. But I who have an implicit faith in every word which I read in the Loiterer, immediately offered to lay a hundred guineas that I would meet you on the Road, my old Boy, and bring you into the High-Street in triumph in my Tandem. ‘‘I was immediately backed by Jack Racket and Kit Cockney, who is wonderfully improved, and the bet fairly taken up by Careless. We were three days upon the scout, looked into every coach, rowed the wagons, examined both the boxes, the roofs, and the baskets, but all in vain. Five times we were taken for highwaymen; once the guard actually pointed his blunderbuss, and here we fully expected to have broke Cover, but presently found ourselves at a dead fault. Upon whispering the coachman for some further information, he said, he fancied the poor gentleman was still in Town. It was true that he had been at the Inn, and had made believe to come down several times; but he always took care to be an hour after the last coach set out, and never offered to pay earnest. I suppose, poor fellow, he could not raid the Wind, and I dare say you’ll find him trudging it on foot. — Off we go again, slap dash, till we got within three miles of Maidenlhead, when we had a view at a considerable distance of a very respectable Clergyman wiping his face with his handkerchief, and approaching us on foot — Tallio’d again — Cockney was in first, but there was so much dignity in the gentleman’s appearance, that he had not courage to speak; and just as he was turning around with a look of contempt at Cockney, Racket, who had got a side view of his face, discovered that it was the reverend Mr. Candour, his uncle and my guardian. Cutting short round, I had nearly broke my neck, and actually sprained my wrist, which had prevented me from writing sooner, to beg Mr. Loiterer that you will satisfS’ my curiosity, and let me know to whom I am addressing this Letter, either by a private hint, or publicly in you next paper, that we may not look so much like fools when we come up to pay the money.
I am, &c.
In answer to this curious Epistle I can only observe, that every man who loses a large sum of money upon so ridiculous a wager, or perhaps upon any wager whatever, in my opinion looks a little foolish when payment is demanded. I shall also further observe, that although the Loiterer is unknown to Mr. Whirligig, the Rackets and the Cockneys, are very well know to the Loiterer; and though I have not the smallest desire to ride in Mr. Whirligig’s Tandem, yet as the gentleman, both in person and property, appears to have been a sufferer on my account, I will just inform him, that as soon as I have disposed of the hints respecting the Air Machine, the next Paper shall give him all the information respecting the person or persons of the Loiterer that he can reasonably require.
* * *N.B. This work will in future be sold by Messrs. Prince and Cooke; to whom our Correspondents are requested to direct their communications.
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